Your family home may be one of your most valuable assets. It may also mean a lot to you for sentimental reasons. If you are struggling with debt, you may be concerned about losing your house if you file for bankruptcy.
Fortunately, under Florida’s bankruptcy laws, you may be able to keep your home even if you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, under Florida’s generous homestead exemption.
Homestead exemption laws
Under Florida’s homestead exemption laws, you can exempt an unlimited amount of equity in your residence when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
You may qualify for this exemption if you meet the following criteria:
- Your property is your primary residence, not a vacation home, rental property, or second property.
- Your property is owned by a person, not an LLC, partnership, etc.
- Your home is worth more than you owe on it.
- Your property is not bigger than half an acre in a municipality or 160 acres elsewhere.
- You owned the property for at least 1,215 days before filing for bankruptcy.
If you do not meet the above criteria, you may still qualify for a homestead exemption under federal law.
If you choose to file for Chapter 13, you are essentially agreeing to repay your creditors over the next three to five years in accordance with your repayment plan. Therefore, you will be able to keep your house, and because your home equity is exempt in Florida, it will generally not affect your monthly payments.
There are several bankruptcy exemptions in Florida, in addition to the homestead exemption. Before filing for bankruptcy, it is in your best interest to determine which exemptions apply to you.